BitStream is like a Vulcan mind meld of tech news and rumours you may have missed over the weekend. Give it a read — it is only logical.
Enjoy your stay in the Uncanny Valley
Welcome to the Henn-na Hotel in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan.
Aside from its overly luxiourious exterior, this resort is no different then any other high dollar establishment. Except when the Henn-na Hotel opens in July of 2015, it will be staffed with robots.
10 humanoid robots to be exact, capable of checking in quests, carrying luggage, and even cleaning rooms. Kokoro, a Japanese robotics company, will be supplying the robots, which they actually call "actroids". They look something like this:
These robots mimics human functions like blinking and breathing and also respond to body language and tone. The Japan Times says the robots won't completely run the hotel — there will be some human staff — but the company's president says he wants them to soon perform 90 per cent of the hotel work.
The death of an audio legend
Inventor Joe Grado passed away late last week. In 1953, Grado founded Grado Labs, a company that would go on to make some of the best hand-crafted headphones in the world. But Grado has a more profound impact on audio than just one company. Stereophile sums up Grado's enormous impact pretty succinctly:
Joe Grado was a mechanic, an engineer, an inventor (with scores of patents), an inveterate tinkerer, an artist, an operatic tenor, and an old-school American entrepreneur. Joe Grado and Saul Marantz can legitimately be called the Ben Franklin and George Washington of high-end American audio. Famously, Mr. Franklin invented bifocal glasses and demonstrated the true nature of electricity. Also famously, Joe Grado invented the stereophonic moving-coil cartridge and put countless people in touch with the real pleasures of listening to music with high-quality headphones.
It's always a sad day when the world loses a great thinker, and Joe Grado was among the best. [Stereophile]
Smartwatches become a classroom conundrum
The wearable future is becoming a giant headache for educators. If smartphones weren't a big enough asset for classroom cheaters, the smartwatch has brought teachers' worry to a whole new level.
According to Buzzfeed's Jim Waterson, many UK universities are banning smartwatches in classrooms and examination halls. The move is a anticipatory one as all universities brace for the release of the Apple Watch in April, a day that the UK educational system has already said it's nervous about.
Apps that solve maths problems. Smartwatches that can store notes. When I was in school, I had to tuck away answers on my TI-84. Times are changing.
- This rumour can probably be filed under "never going to happen" but the iPhone 6s and 7 both launching in 2015 is LOL-worthy. [Knowyourmobile.com]
- The next update for Mac OS X may bring with it some emoji diversity. [Mac Rumours]
Your Apps, Updated
- Google is gobbling up another app. This time it's Odysee, a private sharing photo service that will now bring its security talents to the Google+ team. [TechCrunch]
- The inevitable weed app billed as the "Tinder for Tokers" is here and it's exactly what it sounds like. [CNET]
- Uber is adding an emergency button to its app in India after a history of concerning safety issues. No word yet if such a feature will find its way to other countries. [PC World]
- Firefox's answer to Google Chromecast, the Matchstick, will delay shipping to Kickstarter backers until August for updates to hardware and DRM tech. [Re/code]
- OnePlus will now let anyone by its popular One smartphone with an invite every Tuesday. [OnePlus]
- The Xbox One will (finally) take in-game screenshots, something it should have shipped with back in 2013. But better late than never. [Engadget]
- Nvidia Shield tablet may come with the powerful Tegra X1 chipset with Maxwell GPU. The tablet is expected to launch in about a month. [GSM Arena]
- Gear VR demo stations finally make their way to Best Buy. The VR future is finally becoming a commercial reality. [Slashgear]
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